Atlanta Rabbits must run well, win turnover battle against Pittsburg Pirates

ATLANTA, Texas — The Atlanta Rabbits must run the football well and win the turnover battle against the Pittsburg Pirates in their district opener Friday.

Rabbs head coach Matt McClure joined Michael DelGiorno for the “Coaches Show” Monday at the Rabbit Patch and outlined the keys to victory for his 3-2 squad.

“Got to be able to run the football,” said McClure. “We got to win the turnover battle. That’s something that we’ve been doing a pretty good job of of not turning the ball over, but we’ve got to get some from them obviously.

“Then, we’ve got to limit the explosive plays. I think that’s something last week [against Tatum] that came to the forefront. We can’t give up big pass plays, big run plays, all the explosive plays. We’ve got to make them drive the ball. I think the more plays, the more time the ball’s snapped, the more chance for error for the offense. So, those are the keys.”

The Pirates (3-2) are a big-play offense that features dynamic athleticism under center with quarterback Jaylon Jimmerson and out wide with receiver Keontae Burns. As if the Pirates needed more advantages, they got one with an open week on Oct. 6 as Atlanta took on Tatum, who Pittsburg last played.

“I think it’s a big advantage, and they got tape early on us. So, they’ve had two weeks to prepare… We get Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to really prepare for them, and they get the whole previous week and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday to prepare. That’s the way it is.

“We have to take care of us. I think if we take care of us, we play well, we’ll win the game.”

One of the areas McClure sees as a winnable phase is special teams, citing that Pittsburg surrenders good field position when teams are ready for their surprise onside kicks. He also pointed out Burns has mishandled punts this season, which could open up opportunities.

“We’ve got to make sure we do a real good job when they’re punting and make sure we’ve got guys in position in case they try to run or scramble,” said McClure. “So, I feel like our special team has gotten better and that’s a phase of the game that we need to win.”